Subhas Chandra Bose

Other names: 



Fitzwilliam Hall,
Turpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1RB
United Kingdom
52° 12' 1.6632" N, 0° 7' 10.6284" E
Date of birth: 
23 Jan 1897
City of birth: 
Cuttack, Orissa
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
18 Aug 1945
Precise date of death unknown: 
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
25 Oct 1919
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



Fitzwilliam Hall, Trumpington Street, Cambridge


Having been schooled in Cuttack, Orissa, where his father worked as a lawyer, Subhas Chandra Bose went to Calcutta in 1913 and joined Presidency College. In 1916, Bose was expelled for his complicity in beating a college tutor, Professor Oaten, whom he had heard had manhandled some Indian students. Bose had been involved in student political groups in Calcutta and received much sympathy for his expulsion. He joined Scottish Church College and graduated in 1919 with a degree in philosophy.

Bose's father proposed to send him to England to study for the Indian Civil Service (ICS). Despite Bose's misgivings about accepting a job under the British Government, he set sail for England in September 1919. Upon arriving in Britain, Bose went up to Cambridge to gain admission. He managed to gain entry to Fitzwilliam Hall, a body for non-collegiate members of the University. Bose took the Mental and Moral Sciences Tripos and studied for the Civil Service exams. He attended the Cambridge Union Society debates and was a member of the Cambridge Majlis. He gave evidence to the Lytton Committee investigating Indian students in the UK, and appealed to the India Office to allow Indians to join the University Officers' Training Corps (without success).

In July 1920, Bose took the ICS exams in London and came fourth. Bose then faced a dilemma as to whether to take up this opportunity and sought advice from his family through correspondence to India. Finally in April 1921, Bose withdrew from taking up this post with the ICS and returned to India in the summer of 1921.

In Calcutta, Bose joined the Indian National Congress and worked with the Bengali leader C. R. Das. Bose was in and out of jail in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s for his political action (often violent) against the British. In the meantime, he rose through the Congress ranks, working with Nehru, and became president of Congress in 1938. Successful again in 1939 against Gandhi's candidate, Bose then resigned over the selection of the working committee.

In 1941, Bose managed to leave India through Afghanistan. In 1943, Bose was in Japan and supported the Prime Minister's efforts to reconstitute the Indian National Army (INA) and set up the 'Azad Hind' or Free India provisional government. In 1944, the INA and Japanese invaded India but suffered a heavy defeat. Bose fled and was killed in a plane crash over Taiwan in August 1945 - although many of his followers remain(ed) doubtful as to the cause of his death, wondering if he had managed to escape the crash.


Amiya Nath Bose (nephew), Sarat Chandra Bose (brother), K. L. Gauba (contemporary at Cambridge), George Lansbury, Dilip Kumar Roy (contemporary at Cambridge).

Indian National Army

Published works: 

The Indian Struggle, 1920-1934 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1935)

Other works, unpublished in his lifetime, can be found in the Collected Works published by the Netaji Research Bureau (see below)


Daily Herald (The Indian Struggle, 1935)

Manchester Guardian (The Indian Struggle, 1935)

News Chronicle (The Indian Struggle, 1935)

Spectator (The Indian Struggle, 1935)

The Sunday Times (The Indian Struggle, 1935)

Secondary works: 

Bose, Sisir K., and Bose, Sugata (eds), Netaji: Collected Works (Calcutta: Netaji Research Bureau, 1980-2007)

Gordon, Leonard A., Brothers Against the Raj: A Biography of Indian Nationalists Sarat and Subhas Chandra Bose (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990)

Gordon, Leonard A., ‘Bose, Subhas Chandra (1897–1945)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Roy, Dilip Kumar, The Subhas I Knew (Bombay: Nalanda, 1946)

Toye, Hugh, The Springing Tiger: A Study of a Revolutionary (London: Cassell, 1959)


Subhas Chandra Bose, An Indian Pilgrim (1937), ed. by Sisir K. Bose and Sugata Bose (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 207.


Letter to his brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, on 22 September 1920, from Leigh-on-Sea when on holiday.


I am here as a paying guest of Mr Bates's family. Mr Bates represents English character at its very best. He is cultured and liberal in his views and cosmopolitan in his sentiments. He is altogether unlike the ordinary run of Englishmen - who are proud, haughty and conceited and to whom everything that is non-English is bad. Mr Bates counts among his friends Russians, Poles, Lithuanians, Irishmen and members of other nationalities. He takes a great interest in Russian, Irish and Indian literature and admires the writings of Romesh Dutt and Tagore.


In this letter Bose is referring to the different types of Englishmen he has met in his time in Britain. He is particularly appreciative of Mr Bates's character. The references to Dutt and Tagore also reveal how Indian literature had been taken into the homes of many English households.

Archive source: 

Netaji Research Bureau, Kolkata

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi